Dogs, Hospital and The RFFDS

AussieThis is the Australia Day long weekend, which means that, other than supermarkets, most places are closed until Tuesday. I took herself to the doctor on Friday and he has ordered blood and other tests  to determine where we go from here. We should have the results in a few days. Our fire crews came home on Friday night after ten days away. The fire is still burning but our crews were relieved by crews from another area, so they can have a bit of a rest. The temperature has calmed down a little and at the moment it’s about 34c and expected to climb to about 42/42c during the week. Hot but bearable. Thankfully last week was rare and we really do not get extended temperatures of 48c. However, what we do still have is the wind and that is keeping the flames going.  Fortunately I do not have to travel to Adelaide since the smoke from the fires is causing a few problems on National Highway 1 – our main road in and out of here.

I visited the Vet on Friday morning and asked for a repeat of the flea treatment for the dogs. We have never had fleas before but because offrontline the hot dry conditions this year, there is a lot about and many people who never had the problem now have. However, I got on top of it right away and for the last three months I have been treating the dogs with Frontline.  I didn’t wash their beds – I dumped them and bought new beds. The raised beds and the dog houses, I  washed with an antiflea treatment. I took the Man to the groom and she found no sign of reinfection, but me being the sort of paranoid person I am, decided to extend the treatment for a further three months.   One pack set me back $96 -that’s about 48 pounds. I will be down in Adelaide in early February and I know where to get Frontline for half that price. But then. I wont really need it but it’s good to know for the future. I also discovered that I can buy the packets on-line.

20140130_090802We brought the RFDS Simulator back, which was fun and a bit novel judging by the looks we were getting from other drivers. It’s here for the next four days and we will certainly make the most of it. Our main sponsor for this year – Woolworth – are organising a barbecue for us and we will have the simulator at their carpark on Saturday. It is a fully equipped training model laid out with the same equipment that would be in the aircraft.

This afternoon I take herself to the hospital to see the specialist. The telephone call came through yesterday when I was out of town and although it it short notice, I don’t mind in the least because the next appointment woud not be until March. The specialist will complete his report and we will know on Monday of next week what  is to happen.

Lost in Cyberspace – again!

By look looks of things we might have sorted out the email system this time. The emails that arrived two days ago are still there and nothing has vanished into cyberspace. So that’s good because I am expecting some emails from Adelaide in the next few days and they are important and I cannot afford to lose them. I have a gmail account, which I rarely use, mainly because of the problems in changing my email address on so many different official forms.

I did say that the immediate danger has passed for the moment but there are still two fires burning out of control in inaccessible bushland. Large areas of New South Wales and parts of the Grampians are still a concern. We still have the one on the other side of the Gulf and that is almost contained.

Herself is unwell – anemic and very tired –  and she is still loosing blood and we don’t know how or why. I really hope it’s not something that is in any way, shape or form, related to the MRSA. It’s been five years this year since that  horror ordeal.  I don’t want her to go through anything like that again. It may be something as simple as the blood transfusions, which we did three years ago. I hope that’s it and not something more sinister.  If it is transfusions, the doctor makes arrangements for her to go to Day Surgery at the Hospital where she will spend most of the day. I have made the appointment for Friday so we’ll see what happens

This on-going mail problem is really bugging me.
This on-going mail problem is really bugging me.

***Insert yelling and fearful curses*** – The mail has vanished again – everything over the last three days has just gone – not deleted – just gone – as if it never was. It’s not in the recycle bin and it’s not in the deleted files folder, it’s just *poof!!!*  gone. I have directed mail to the AppleMac  deleted Outlook from this PC. Everything should now go to the Apple. I am sooooo frustrated – I thought we had solved the problem. I have told Herself “do not NOT upgrade to Windows 8 – stay with Win. 7.” I just couldn’t believe it!  Where is Sherlock Holmes when you need him?

It’s raining – actually it’s been pouring for most of the night. All we can hope for is that the rain is not just localised and that it is raining on the other side of the Gulf, which will help to contain the fire and perhaps allow our own fire crews to come home. Fire Crews from all over the region are there, including several of ours. It was reported yesterday that the fire had broken through the containment lines, but was being brought under control again. This rain should help- this fire has now been burning for a week or more.

I took the dogs out last night and I thought the sky looked a bit suspicious but I felt we could have our walk and be home before anything happened.
We didn’t make it and down it came when we were on the homeward section. Tell you what, I had carried the Man going out, but he was leading the charge and tugging on the way home, particularly the last 200 yards or so. He dislikes being wet.

Emails, Apple and the Guru…

A sledge-hammer would do the job just as well!!
A sledge-hammer would do the job just as well!!

Monday 20

This morning the email arrived. I answered two comments – one from Turkey and one from Manhattan – and started reading about dancing and traveling oop north then went off to do something else. When I came back the mail had gone – just vanished – and this is happening a lot. I have decided that I am not going to solve this conflict so I will go into town and order a new battery for the MacBook and put that back into service. Outlook for AppleMac is reliable. It may take a few days, cost more,  but I think it’s the best option. Not that I really need a new battery, but when I bought the MacBook three years ago I was getting nine hours from  a charge. I liked this because it meant that I could disconnect from the house here and go to work and not have to worry about taking a charger with me. I could also take it to Adelaide for the same reason.  Because it is one of the ‘early’ MacBook Pro the battery is not the best and these days I am lucky if I get four / five  hours out of it.

I’ve had the Guru  (No. 1 son) over and we have made some changes to Outlook that we hope will solve the problem and at the moment the mail seems to  be stable. This on-going problem with my mail system and the fact that Windows 8 and Outlook are not best friends has had me worried more than I can say.  I felt that people might think that I was using it as some sort of excuse to ignore them, and nothing could be further from the truth, because it’s all mail, family and friends,  not just posts and comments. I probably worry too much about things and people, neither of which, in this instance, I  have much control over.

The worst of the heat is now over for the moment, at least in South Australia and the dogs are getting out a lot more. I took them out last night  and where the Man is concerned, it’s  – one third walk – one third carry – one third walk. Still he’s a happy little soul and much loved by everyone, he’s just getting a bit slow.   More than Chienne, the girls want to play with him, but the problem is that he is old and he can be cranky and he does not like being  set upon by six and seven year old girls. I am so glad that he has no teeth, because he has snapped at  Rhianna a couple of times. Chienne wouldn’t mind in the least, but they want to play with the little cute and fluffy one  :o)

I have said before that I do not play the “stat”game but I expect,  like everyone else,  I like to have comments. I try and respond as soon as I can. I expect most

Not related to anything - I just like it.
Not related to anything – I just like it.

people do, but here is where my ‘paranoia’ sets in and I find that I make a comment and whilst there is replies to all the comments around it, mine stands out lost and alone. I go back in a few days, and it’s still there. I read it and re-read it and wonder if what I said has caused offense, or if the person does not consider it important enough to bother responding to, or it’s a stupid comment and ignores it. It’s a worry.

Tuesday 21

Went up to the Vet at 10 am this morning to get more medication for Chienne and to get the capsules of  “Frontline” which can only be issued by a Vet. Remembering that he closed down from 6th December to 6th January, I arrived at the surgery to be told that ” the Vet has an appointment so we’re closing down for the day. “. There is a new Vet in town and I am told she is very good with animals. Two of my friends go there and they tell me she really is a pleasure to work with.  Oh, I am so tempted!!

Fires, thunderstorms and fires

Fires burning out of control 90 miles from here.
Fires burning out of control 90 miles from here.

Over 20 fires are still burning in South Australia and the residents in the Northern Grampians in Victoria have been told to be ready to evacuate as a massive fire burns out of control. Once our fires are under control we will be able to spare firefighters to go over to Victoria and help out. I am so glad that we don’t do fires or floods here. The heat has not abated any and we are still in the mid to high 40s and have been for five days now.  I have tried my best with water and mulch but my plants have just burned off and the Natives are struggling. And the constant wind means that my garden has become a leaf depository on steroids. Once this heat is over and we go back to normal it will take me ages to clean the place up. The heat I can take but I have never known a period when we have had constant wind day in-day out and it becomes more of a struggle to keep the place clean because the dust gets everywhere.  The wind is fanning the fires burning out of control some 95 miles away in the National Park. However the main threat is in Victoria where several small town have been evacuated.

Right at this very moment we are in the middle of a thunderstorm and Chienne is going gaga. Her distress is now passed to the Man and he is a bit upset. It is loud and it is a bit scary. I have medicated Chienne but I am reluctant to give anything to the Man that I have not already cleared with the Vet.  The Thunderstorm is a cause for further concern and it is believed that the lightening could spark off further Fires. Tomorrow the temperature is due to crash from 44c today to an overnight low of 30c and then down to a cool 28c tomorrow, and then we just wait for the next belting  :o)

It’s down to 29c at the moment but over the border in Victoria fires are still burning out of control and although conditions in the South East of  SA are starting to ease, we still have a couple of fires burning out of control with over 12 homes destroyed. If the cool weather lasts for a bit. I’ll  go out and  plant the Pencil Pines.

The cool weather is really not helping the areas where the fires are burning because of the wind change – and it’s a fairly strong wind. All it’s doing is causing the fires to change direction and

The fires on the far side of the Spencer Gulf
The fires on the far side of the Spencer Gulf

add more problems for the hundreds of firefighters battling the blazes.  I have posted here a photograph that was taken from a hill at the foreshore. In the foreground to the left, is the Iron Ore export jetty and in the distance, over the water is the fires burning on the hills at Port Germain about twenty miles away. And yes I did say that the fires were a long way from us and that’s true (170 klms by road) but I have not yet seen or heard of a fire that can travel across 20 – 25 miles over open water.

I am still having major problems with my email system and I know I’ve just lost another batch of mail. It was there this morning but when I went back into MS Outlook a little while later it was all gone. I cannot find it anywhere, so it looks as if I am going to have to bite the bullet, buy a new MS Outlook – from Outlook 2010 –  Outlook 2013- and see where we go from there. If it cannot be fixed it might be just as cheap to have a new battery put into the AppleMac and abandon the PC. Please understand I am not ignoring anyone. Everything else is fine, just MS Outlook.

Heat, Fires and the RFDS

It’s 4:35am and I am sitting here hot and sticky. The temperature has been hovering around the 46c mark for the last few days and will continue for the next few days with a cool change coming in at the weekend. I was in bed at 11pm last night so I guess five hours or so in this heat is fairly good. I do not have an AC in my bedroom, only overhead fans – which I find are only really effective in moving the warm are around, not really cooling it. Still, it’s better than nothing. The Man finally crept out from under my bed at 10pm last night.  The  dry thunderstorm (no rain) sparked off a number of fires (200) in South Australia, one of which is only about 50 klm. east of the city. Water bombers have been brought over from  NSW and Victoria to assist. As the high temperatures continue the possibility for bushfires increases., but I have to say (although Chienne would not agree) the light show last night was quite spectacular.

This is not ours, but it gives you an example.
This is not ours, but it gives you an example.

I bought three Pencil Pines when I was in Adelaide, but because of the heat I have not planted them. They should be safe enough remaining in their pots under cover and well watered until I can get them out. Normally I would do it at the weekend once the cool change comes in, but this weekend I am busy with the Royal Flying Doctors and fundraising. On the subject of the RFDS, we are bringing a 10 meter simulator into town at the end of the month. It’s coming from Central Operations and we  will have it for four days, so we will make the best use of it we can. With 557 landings here in the last 12 months, I think many people would be interested to see what the inside of an RFDS aircraft looks like and what range of medical  equipment it carries. We can’t take an aircraft out of service, so the simulator is the next best thing.

There are still fires burning out of control across parts  of  South Australia as the temperature shows no signs of letting up at the moment. Some places further north have recorded  temperatures of 50c – and – would you believe – 11 incidents of  people leaving children in a car and 4 of a dog left in a car. True one of my dogs will be in a car today, but the Man will be with me and you may be certain that the AC is on at full. We will only be driving for about ten minutes – to the groomer – and a further ten minutes when I collect him.

When I was a boy I went camping, fishing and hiking in the Scottish Highlands with my Dad. After my Dad died, I went off hiking on my own and an kept up the fishing. No. 3 GF came hiking with me but we are talking about the late  1960s in Scotland, so camping was out and we stayed in B&B – separate rooms, of course and if I went in to see her, the room door had to remain open.  Even better – she liked Sinatra!! I get slightly amused with the term “relationships”because we never had “relationships” which seems to me to be a fairly modern term. You either had  Boyfriend or you had a Girlfriend – there was no relationship – or what moderns would consider a relationship. Yeah, but what about the 60s, Woodstock, Hippie Generation, Free Love and all that – yes certainly in America, possibly even to a small extent in England, but  in Presbyterian,  Conservative Scotland – I think not!?! After  herself and I were married we went back to the Highlands and the mountains for a few carefree years before the twin adventure dampeners  of mortgage and family.  After the first son was born we did spend some time in the North and my family looked after the child. When he was about four, we introduced him to Loch Earn. We even took him out to Rannoch Moor for a walk. Not really knowing much about Australia I assumed that I could go for long walks and to off fishing. The bulk of Australians fish from the Jetty and that really didn’t appeal to me. The nearest river was the Murray – about 100 miles away and the nearest trout fishing was in the Australian Grampians which are cold enough for trout. I didn’t get used to the flies and still have not, but I missed my highlands so at weekend for the first year or so we were here I very selfishly took off to the upper Flinders Ranges. It wasn’t too bad walking through the SA High Country because we seemed to be out of the way of flies. I don’t think I will ever get used to them.

High Heat and Thunderstorms

The Beach at low tide
The Beach at low tide

I was asked why the “obese”comment with the photograph and my reply was that the problem with my foot is fairly common among athletes – particularly runners. Outside of the athletic community the problem is generally – but not always – associated with overweight and obesity – addition strain being placed when walking. Since I am not an athlete  or a long distance runner, I just thought, before anyone added one and one and got three, I would show a recent photograph which indicates that I am not obese and other than doing silly things, like with ladders, I really don’t know what the real cause of the problem is – and neither, for that matter did my doctor  – other than to make comments about footwear and ladder rungs. Secondly, why is there a big cockroach in Adelaide? I thought I had explained this but here’s a brief rundown – nearly twenty years ago the State Government and the Adelaide City Council proposed to take some land, about 30 miles North of the city and create a waste disposal landfill for the Adelaide garbage. The land owners protested because of the risk this would propose to an environmentally  sensitive area,  and one of the farmers, more enterprising, created a range of “sculptures” depicting problems associated with landfills. Despite the protests, the State Government went ahead and did what they wanted to do – probably on their usual basis “if it’s good for Adelaide, it’s good for all of South Australia”. The statues remained and have become a feature that we look for traveling Port Wakefield Road to Adelaide. One of these statues was the giant cockroach. It went missing and a search was made for it – led by the State government and the Adelaide City Council. It was finally found and  although slightly damaged, was cleaned and restored — but what to do with it?? It was decided that is would grace Rundle Mall (Adelaide’s main shopping area) until such times as it could go back to its original position  in the land off the Port Wakefield Road. The Statues, which have been there in all sorts of weather for the last twenty years,  are starting to show signs of wear, so the State government is going to contribute funds to help restore them – they now consider them a ‘Tourist Site”, loved and looked for by those of us who travel that road on a regular basis. So I hope that answers these

You need to zoom to see the windmills
You need to zoom to see the windmills

questions.  I would love to take masses of photographs when I go on my twice daily walks with my dogs, but there’s nothing here to see.  Yes, I could take the dogs down to the beach – or someplace, but that would require a major operation and ear plugs to drown out the loud and persistent whining of Chienne because she’s in the car that she hates, and the barking of the Man because he is clipped into the seat belt in the back seat and he wants to sit on my  lap and since the police regularly patrol the beach area, they would see this – and I can’t afford the $285.oo  fine and the demerit points that this would attract.

Electricity Windmills – our state has an obsession with the blessed things and they want them everywhere. Protests –  totests – the State Government just walks right over the top of them and what’s a few landowner concerns when the electricity needs of  South Australia (Adelaide) are concerned.  Other than the Sculptures and the windmills, there is really not a lot to see and we are no longer allowed to venture off the road because the land is now owned by the Army. For years we held an annual concert and Jazz Festival at a place called “Red Rock” that’s off-limits now.

We climbed to  an official temperature of 46c today. My thermometer recorded 48, so it’s at least accurate. Same again tomorrow and Thursday. Thunderstorm this evening and Chienne was medicated. The man  got under my bad and stayed there. I found an old pair of  shorts and put them close to him, so he bunched them up and curled up there for most of the evening. Probably more thunder tomorrow night. Trip to the vet I think.

Road Trip, Adelaide and Fire Bans

The drive to Adelaide was uneventful. The temperature was about 35c, but I did leave at 7am so I avoided much of the heat. I arrived in Adelaide at 11;10am – from Adelaide out to where Alan is took me

This is me. Obese I am not. Just thought I would get that out of the way.
This is me. Obese I am not. Just thought I would get that out of the way.

– via the South Road – from 11:10 – 12;27, which is when I parked the car. I had spoken to him fairly regularly – every few days – but I was unprepared on how frail he had become.  Having spent some time with him, I had a much better understanding of why the Medical staff were against him being in a car, without oxygen, in a 44c heat for nearly six hours. Anyway, I did spend some time with him chatting with him and bringing him up to date on herself and the boys, Trish and the girls (Trish is Andrew’s Partner and the girls are hers). He spends nearly all of his day in a chair, hooked up to the oxygen and watching television – which means, the conversation was fairly one sided. I wanted to get back into town and spend some time there, so I only stayed for about an hour or so. I should be going back down in early February so I’ll try and take a run out to see him again.  Certainly it’s a lovely place – I mean it REALLY is a lovely place and the staff are very helpful, but that being said – it is still a Nursing Home and he wont be coming out of there until …….

Making my way back into town I stopped off at the Garden Center and bought some new plants. I bought three new pencil pines for out the front and two new hibiscus for the back to compliment the native hibiscus. The colours should should provide a good contrast. I did some shopping in town and went into the Optus Shop and upgraded herself’s phone. Apart from other things, it was a long day but still not over yet. I made my way to the hotel, settled in and parked the car. I walked up to the main road and caught a bus into town and walked to the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) – a fair distance. Considering I have been suffering from a condition called “Plantar Fasciitis” it was not a very pleasant walk. A friend of one of the elderly ladies in the church  had an accident and was flown to Adelaide. I said  I would go visit her when I was in Adelaide. I arrived at the RAH and asked where the lady was only to find that she has been flown back to the local hospital the previous afternoon. I was not really overjoyed at the walk back to the bus stop. I  am glad that she is back home ( well, sort of) so she can have visitors. That was good – the walk back to the bus stop was not. It was a hot sticky night so thank goodness for air

The Adelaide Cockroach
The Adelaide Cockroach

conditioners. How did I cause the damage to my foot – well I saw some jobs that needed to be done and went out to do them – “Wont take long ”  I thought. That being so I didn’t bother to put on work shoes but spent the day climbing up and down ladders   wearing sandals. Ok so it took longer than I anticipated, and whilst this may not be the exact cause, it certainly didn’t help. And if there is anyone who feels the urge to berate me for not wearing the correct footwear for the job, please don’t – my doctor has done it for you  :o)

This week in South Australia is one of extreme heat. It starts today with a temperature of 39c – 42c Tuesday – 44c  Wednesday – 43 Thursday – 44 Friday and then a cool change late Friday afternoon. Saturday we drop down to the high 20c/ low 30c. The Emergency Services and the hospitals are on stand-by as the sun bites and humour takes a back seat. There is a total fire ban across the State. One  person asked me today what I was going to do to keep cool and I said that I would probably  curl up with the dogs  on the ceramic tiles in the laundry. I don’t think it registered…

Cricket, Trekies and Roses

How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished.

Five wickets fallen for a total of 22 runs. That is abysmal in any language. England is down and Australia is slowly kicking the life out of it. Not good, not good at all – bad for England and bad for cricket in general. But the question has to be asked why England has performed so badly and my view is that they are burned out. They have come to Australia at the end of a fairly hectic tour in India and Sri Lanka whilst Australia haven’t been anywhere yet and are fresh and on fire. Just listening to the comments and no one seems able to believe how bad England are. They are coming up with all sorts of excuses and I feel they are just wandering around the problem – there is far too much cricket and too much is being asked of the players. India and Australia have a lot to answer for in this regard –

The strange people you meet in Adelaide  :o)
The strange people you meet in Adelaide :o)

Australia with the Big Bash League and India with its India Premier League = lots of money involved. And yes many of the  Test Cricketers in England don’t play for the IPL but they are still involved in International Tours and England has just finished a tour of India and Sri Lanka, so my feeling is they are burned out – too much cricket. There is no such thing as an “Off-Season” anymore and it’s less of a sport and more of a business venture with the potential for corruption with the serious on-line betting and betting on individual players and ball by ball results. This is already under investigation and corruption has already been  an ugly feature of the Indian Games. But that aside. England really has some serious soul searching to do. They didn’t lose the Ashes, they gave them away as a Christmas Gift. Oh and if anyone is thinking ‘Just Sour Grapes” please remember I am Scottish, not English – winning or loosing is not the issue, the game is and this was not a game, it was Play School on a Cricket Oval.

The weather has been odd lately and when I have taken the dogs walking in the mornings I have been wearing a track suit. Same at night, it is decidedly chilly. At the moment it’s a case of half walk half carry with the Man. However, he’s still had full mobility wandering around the grounds and the house and I really don’t mind having to carry him sometimes. But it is getting to the point when I need to give serious thought to a set of wheels for him.  On Friday I

 Sturt Desert Rose
Sturt Desert Rose

head off to Adelaide, returning Saturday. I said I would go down and spend some time with Alan and this might be the last opportunity I get for a while, since the weather is starting to heat up again and should be in the mid to high 40s next week. It means navigation the vagaries of the South Road but it is starting to come together now so it’s perhaps not quite as bad as it used to be.

Can it be that it was all so simple then?

Ah Australia - 22 million people, 10 Billion Flies
Ah Australia – 22 million people, 10 Billion Flies

Growing up in Scotland was different from Australia. Family and friends lived within walking distance and, since there were lots of people about, walking to and fro to different houses, was generally quite safe – even for a person on their own. Many people and families were out and about after midnight on New Year.  And that was the thing – you walked –  rugged up against the cold. Even when herself and I got married, our house was not all that far from her parents in one direction and my family in the other. When we first came to Australia it was like that here. This was very much a British Community and we all shared the same values and traditions – sort of.  The family all  lived within walking distance and we took turns each year of hosting Christmas and New Year. All this began to change with the depression of 1985/6.  The story takes too long to tell but suffice to say after 1986 everything changed. Most of my family and many of the friends we had made, all  left to find work in other places.  We no longer had family Christmas Dinner together but my remaining sister and I looked after  Mum until she died a few years ago.

I was thinking about that last night and chatting with my oldest son about tradition,  the concept of  “First Footing” and the fact that my father took it

Works for me!
Works for me!

very seriously. But it was not really a problem because the first person to set foot in your house in the New Year was generally a Neighbour, and so they all went first footing each other – then branched out to walks to family. And the Scots who came out here brought these traditions with them – all gone now,  along with the traditions of other communities – The Croatian Club- gone/ Club Italico (now the haunt of a few very old men) the German Club – gone / The Burns Society – gone / St. Andrew’s Association – gone / the Masonic Lodges – gone.  What has taken their place is open all night hotels and pubs, mostly haunted by teenagers who go there with the sole intention of “having fun” and for many of them, having fun is getting plastered ( like the classy lady Suzie81 wrote about some time ago) – although many of them are half tanked before they get there. True, we are not too bad here, but in Adelaide it’s a nightmare – alcohol fueled  violence most weekends in Rundle Street (Street – not Mall) and politicians and police seem to be unable to stop it. Of course having a bunch of Justice Jokers who think a serious punishment is a severe talking to and a three week jail sentence- suspended – doesn’t help.  People have been giving a suspended sentence for killing a person – drunk driving. The family of the victim are outraged – the public are outraged – the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) throws out his chicken chest and talks about a sentence that is ‘Manifestly Inadequate” promises an investigation – then quietly  forgets about it as soon as the furor dies down.  And that’s why we have continual alcohol-fulled violence – consequences for most things is minimal – look contrite, tell the Justice Joker how sorry you are and how you feel for the family of the victim, and Bob’s your uncle – home in time for dinner.

Isaiah 59:11
We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away.

I am so tempted!!!
I am so tempted!!!

Some parts of Australia, mainly inland , have brought in the New Year with temperatures of 50c. We were 44.5c , which Is just a tad warm. I took the dogs out walking after the bite had gone out of the sun, and was silly enough to think that the wind would keep away the flies. As I said, silly decision, and I gave up after about ten minutes. One thing I have never adjusted to in Australia is the continual flies – hoards of the things that follow you around like a cloud. I hate it. I like Australia but I hate going outside and spending half my time batting flies away from my face. As I said before, the  personal fly-nets that fit over your hat are becoming quite popular. It still looks a bit silly, but then people with very painful sunburnt feet think the “English Thing” – wearing sox with sandal -, looks silly  :o)